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Measures of Plantar Flexion and Dorsiflexion Strength in Flamenco Dancers

M. Elizabeth Pedersen, M. Virginia Wilmerding, Jim Milani, Jennifer Mancha
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 14 Number 3: Page 107 (September 1999)

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Abstract: Flamenco is a dance technique that is associated with the Gypsies of southern Spain at the end of the nineteenth century. It is a unique dance form in that it involves repetitive stamping of the feet in high-heeled shoes against the floor. Therefore, flamenco dancers make unique adaptations at the ankle joint to accommodate the demands of this particular dance style. The purpose of this study was to examine the ankle strength of student flamenco dancers and contrast them to similar data from ballet dancers to better understand the unique movements of the flamenco technique and how these movements may predispose this group of dancers to a unique set of injuries. Twenty-three female flamenco dancers provided a convenience sample from intermediate and advanced classes in the Festival Flamenco held at the University of New Mexico in June 1997. Maximal strength, strength diminution, and range of motion were measured on a dynamometer. In comparisons between right and left feet, significant differences were found for only range of plantar flexor and dorsiflexor motion. The percussive stamping of the feet produces whole-body vibrations that must be attenuated by the joints of the legs to a safe frequency. If there is any muscular imbalance at the ankle joint, this may affect the body's ability to dampen the vibrations and may possibly lead to injury of the lower-extremity joints

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